Curious

Curious places in or facts about Britain; the quirky, off-beat or unusual.

Swaledale meadows and the corpse way

The Corpse Road

We set off with friends David and Cecile (and Hamish the dog) to visit Swaledale’s corpse trail.  It is one of their favourite walks and the views are terrific.  You may know of Yorkshire’s Swaledale, but I suppose I had better explain what a corpse trail is: so here goes.  Once upon a very long …

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Bourton-on-the-Water, model village

Bourton-on-the-Water

Bourton-on-the-Water is one of Britain’s honeypot villages.  Situated in the Cotswolds, a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty that straddles five counties (Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Warwickshire, Wiltshire and Worcestershire), Bourton-on-the-Water’s main claim to fame is that it is a very pretty village surrounded by lots of other very pretty villages.  Perhaps ‘honeypot’ is an archaic term …

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Anniversaries, 2022

Anniversaries 2022

Which anniversaries are being marked in Britain in 2022?  Below is a selection of more than sixty noteworthy occasions for you.  Each one will be on someone’s calendar for 2022 – and each one offers an insight into Britain’s story.  A Bit About Britain usually only highlights significant anniversaries – centenaries, half centuries and quarter …

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The Hospital of St Cross

Hospital of St Cross

The Hospital of St Cross and Almshouse of Noble Poverty, to give the institution its full name, is almost nine centuries old and said to be England’s oldest charitable body. Never heard of it? Neither had I – until reading about it in Ian Marchant’s delightful book, ‘The Longest Crawl’. This is an account of …

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Anniversaries, 2021

Pounds shillings and pence

Which anniversaries will be marked in Britain in 2021?  Here is a selection of noteworthy events and birthdays for you.  Each one will be on someone’s calendar for 2021 – and each one offers a little insight into Britain’s story. Scroll through to spot those occasions that may have slipped your mind, or click/tap on …

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High Days and Holidays

A Bit About Britain's High Days and Holidays

Just published and available from Amazon – A Bit About Britain’s High Days and Holidays. High Days and Holidays are special occasions, celebrations, or commemorations. They occur throughout the year, some wanted, some not, some remembered more than others.  In days gone by, the passing year was marked by seasonal or religious feast days of …

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The outcast dead

The railings at Crossbones, Visit London

This is Cross Bones Graveyard, surely one of the saddest places in London.  Its story belongs within a wider narrative about poverty and prostitution, an important aspect of the two-thousand year history of the Borough of Southwark.  Just an unfashionable step from busy Bankside in Redcross Way, Cross Bones is part of a very old …

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Anniversaries, 2020

Spitfire, V1, IWM

Which anniversaries are being marked in Britain in 2020?  Here is a selection of noteworthy events and birthdays for you.  You can be sure that each one will be on someone’s calendar for 2020 – and each one offers an insight into Britain’s story.  A Bit About Britain only highlights significant anniversaries – centenaries, half …

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Free London – take a walk from Westminster

Westminster

On the theme of how to enjoy London for free, or on a limited budget, let’s think about walking.  Shanks’ pony is often the best way to see any city and London is particularly rewarding in this regard.  Not only can you take in some of the famous sites for nothing, but you’ll also often …

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Some corner of a foreign field that is forever Turkey

Turkish flag, Gosport

The small south coast town of Gosport is an interesting, rather than a pretty, place.  Optimistic residents may believe it was once known as ‘God’s port’, though the Oxford Dictionary of Place Names’ more prosaic and likely explanation is that the name derives from ‘Goose port’.  What we do know is that Gosport developed as …

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In the middle of Scotland

Stone at the Centre of Scotland

Have you ever found yourself in the middle of Scotland?  Not just vaguely messing about in it, as it were, or immersed in its cultural hub (wherever that is), but bang in the geographical centre of the country? There really is a centre of Scotland – of course there is – and its location is …

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